Had Your Dose of Mama Lately?

Remember A Dose of Mama ?  Well, if you haven’t had your medicine lately …

Here’s a healing dose:   Elisabet Sahtouris

And here’s another: Karen Armstrong

There are MANY! And not only from women.

I aim to bring some to your attention.  I hope you’ll bring some to mine.

 !!  WARNING  !!
(Extended dialog within.  Enter at your own risk. 


Beyond Here – Thar Be Monsters !! )
|                .
↓                .

Advertisements

37 Comments

Filed under Fresh Dose

37 responses to “Had Your Dose of Mama Lately?

  1. Steve Clemmer

    I listened to Karen Armstrong, she’s very well spoken and has a good sense of humor too. It reminded me of all of the many times in the Bible where belief, faith, and trust are spoken of, and how they are always or almost always spoken of in terms of the heart. As in the famous verse in Proverbs, “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding.” Or the great salvation verse in Romans 10 where it says that when someone believes in their heart that God has raised Jesus from the dead he will be saved. That truly is more than intellectual assent. Seems like God always starts in the heart and works outward. That’s why I think having a soft heart is a good thing because it makes us like good earth in which the seed of the word of God can go deep and have a prosperous future in our lives and experience.

    Steve

    • Beautiful, Steve! Thanks for sharing. I think you really caught the core beauty of Karen’s posture toward people and their religious cultures. She understands the interiority of shared cultural stories, and while recognizing the global limitations of provincial mythologies, she embraces their history, commonalities, and the universal human needs that they support. She refrains from comparisons and emphasizes love and mutual care. Very soft-heartedly.

      • Steve Clemmer

        I like that, and I think many people do as well because they are actually stressed out over the ethnic hostility that we hear and read about all the time. And that hostility, far from diminishing, seems to be mounting up to some kind of climax, especially in the Middle east; that looks like ground zero!

        Now this is where I start to get some firm footing on how to deal with those controversies and it really is like an escape hatch from the comparative religion thing. If I can accept that the Jews were chosen by God to receive his written oracles then I am free to take another step down the path to knowing God as he has chosen to be revealed to man. That’s not to exalt the Jew because in reading the Bible we see that none of their faults were overlooked or glossed over, it’s just that God chose them for a particular purpose and it is his right as God to do that. So for me it’s kinda a humbling thing, I may not want it to be that way, but I have to accept God’s thinking over my own because he has a purpose in these things that predate me and even all of creation.

        But if I can get past the comparative thing so that I don’t have to give writings like the Koran the same authority as the Bible it really gives me traction. Then I can see what is written about the Logos of God, the living word of God that was from the beginning and through whom everything was created. I can see that this person called the Son of God came into the world to reveal God in a way that was unknown to man in the times before but was sent at the exact right time to make the one sacrifice for the sins of the world, the sacrifice that is the only way that God has chosen to reconcile man to himself.

        Now this may be controversial and even thought to be hateful and exclusive to many in the pop culture world, but in my case, I’m really so far down the pathway that I can’t turn back, and even if I could I wouldn’t want to because of the truth that I have seen in Jesus. Even more I read that he is coming back and is going to be the answer to all of the conflicts in the world in ways that we cannot even imagine now. I look forward to that, but at the same time seeing that it could get darker before the dawn! We have got to hang in there!

  2. Eloquently expressed, Steve! This is precisely how I once thought. It is the current western Christian tradition in a nutshell.
    While I don’t currently think this way, I recognize the beauty in it. From my encounters, I think that folks who are thinking along the lines of Karen, no longer attribute “divine authority” per se to any ancient literature. I personally now see all such texts: The Bible, The Koran, The Bhagavad Gita (sp), and so many others as snapshots of human consciousness with varying longitudinal reflection and widely varying historicity. I see all literature as being distinctly of human origin and reflecting a nearly full spectrum of the evolution of human consciousness, from the most base to the most sublime. Though I don’t cite it here for authority I think this is what is meant when the Bible says (roughly) “All scripture is valuable for instruction and training in godliness.” I had typically construed this as an exhortation to adhere to the Bible. But “scripture” = Gr.”graphos” which means simply “writing”. And, of course, the original writers of the New Testament content, at least, did not foresee the inclusion of their writing (including the statement above) in a limited canon.
    For some years, I’ve been holding the term “spirit” in my left hand, and the term “consciousness” in my right. It had previously dawned on me that they referred to the same internal reality, so for a long time I tested cross-substitutions of the terms in a wide variety of writings. I’m comfortable now in proposing the equivalence for your consideration. We can discuss it.

  3. Steve Clemmer

    We probably should discuss this, we have an obligation to have some back and forth on the topic. I didn’t realize that you changed your thinking in that way.

    Two thoughts on the issue at hand. The first would be the test of fulfilled prophecy. The Bible has very, very many fulfilled prophecies regarding Jesus Christ, from his birthplace, his life and ministry and even the exact time when he would appear in the world, to the year. This has to distinguish the Hebrew scriptures from all others as the word of God.

    With the Timothy scripture you quoted in the last post, Paul also says that they were holy scriptures that Timothy had known from his youth. If you put both of those together Paul had to have been speaking about the Hebrew scriptures because they were the only ones regarded by him from his background as holy scriptures. To give that more context he says in Romans that the oracles of God were committed to the Jew. That’s apostolic teaching that is foundational to Christianity. I don’t really see Paul teaching two opposing doctrines, do you?

    What do you think?

  4. I totally agree about the mutual accountability and need for dialog. Seriously, that’s what this site was envisioned for.
    All of the dialog so far on various posts has been heartfelt, easygoing, delightfully engaging, and mutually encouraging. It’s easy to do that when there are no conflicting perspectives arising. But frankly, I have been hoping that someone well-spoken and even-tempered like you might come along and engage me (not that the discussion is limited to just you and me) in a discussion where divergent views are explored.
    I strongly believe that examples need to be provided for folks to witness such amiable discourse where there may be fundamental disagreement. I am willing to be part of such an observed dialog. I would be delighted if you would be also. I promise to respect your views and listen and respond carefully. I will seek to emphasize what I see and why it works for me, and how I came to see it, rather than seeking to change your mind. Since I think you hold views which I once held and I may hold views which you may not have considered, I will willingly submit to questions you may pose in order to provide a balancing asymmetry. Please tap me if I falter in any of these regards. This is important to me – more important perhaps than my own perspectives.

    First off, I do realize that we’ve had almost no dialog for several years, and that my previous post will necessarily be a bit of a surprise. That can’t be helped now, but I hope that our friendship and our good posture toward each other will facilitate your discovering anything you want to find out in this regard. Of course, I am well within your sphere of influence and I hold no illusions as to having ‘arrived’ at some static immutable perspective. In fact, I believe that any views held aloof above critical review and adjustment constitute idolatry, as in “lean not on your own understanding”.

    Next, I currently have more of what I think is well-founded respect for the Bible than I have ever had. Having read it through several times and studied it so often, and enjoyed such excellent fellowship in its shadow, I expect I will continue to make reference to it rather often, out of respect, even in controversy. Never-the-less I do not regard the Bible as the word of God as God is traditionally regarded as a separate supreme divine entity. Nor do I regard it as even remotely infallible. I do regard it as predominately mythological with a smattering of historicity, but this does not diminish its value. I see the Egyptian origins of most of the mythology and that still doesn’t undermine its value to me. This value retention, however, is largely due to an emergence of new values in me.

    I needed to share this early on, so that we don’t right off hit a memetic log jam of vetting ancient literature with its own content, or vetting our perspectives too narrowly through any literature, ancient or modern, single source or multiple.

    I also have to admit right off that my views are a synthesis of all that I have received, perceived, and conceived in my whole life so far, so there are no easy literary sources to point to, though I have found various media, including literature, including the Bible, that taken, shaken, and shared may help to clarify some areas. I sense no need to verify one’s ‘vista’ (world view and assessment of what’s important) via documentation anyway. It’s not like a state that will look us right in the eye and not acknowledge our existence unless we can produce our birth certificate. Never-the-less, I will do my utmost to find clarifying materials as needed. I’ve spent a lot of time looking for good language for these things.

    So, I really haven’t shared anything yet, but I’ll await your go-ahead to begin to outline what I see as “the big picture”. And I relish the opportunity that your posting has produced. Thanks, Steve!!

  5. Steve

    Ok, but I think it would be a good idea to present the big picture in segments that are bite size. It would be easier to respond that way and also easier for people to follow along.

    I’ve given two points, one about fulfilled prophecy and the other showing Paul referring to the scriptures as holy scriptures thus separating them from all other writings and pointing to the fact that God chose the Jew to receive the written oracles. (Rom.3:2)

    I put that out there in response to your previous post about the equivalence of the Bible with the Koran and the Bhagvad Gita.

    Guess I’m still back on that point! 🙂

    A third point along those lines, in addition to the Old Testament being written by people called “holy prophets” who accurately spoke of the coming of the just one in detail and whose every word about him was fulfilled, we have Gospels being written by people who were eyewitnesses of the words, works, sacrifice, resurrection and ascension of Christ.

    That has to set the Bible apart from all other writings, does it not?

    The quotes of Jesus that we have in the Bible aren’t relativistic or wishy washy. It has often been commented that he either had to be exactly what he said he was, or a madman. No in between!

    Now I hope I’m not just giving out “current western Christian tradition” with those three points. To me those accounts and truths are incorporated into what is called the Gospel. So I draw a distinction there.

    In addition, when looking at some of the other writings in the world such as the Koran, we can read in one of it’s most famous passages a verse saying man should never say that God has a son or God begets and that it should be far from us to do so. That quote is even inscribed on the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem in bold letters! Now if I say that the Koran is equal to the Bible in any way am I not giving some kind of credence to it’s error?

    What do you think?

    • That’s perfectly fine, Steve. We can look it these things first to some degree. I was not ignoring them, but in your post they seemed to be addressing my use of that passage in Timothy, which I did not cite for authority, but rather as a phrase that helped explain my thought. When your post turned to the topic of Biblical authority I simply thought I might be clearer by addressing that issue differently as well as more integrated with my overall thinking. As I said, I’m disinclined to share in a manner that is anything less than “iron sharpening iron”, so I did not want to appear to take away something without first or simultaneously providing something in return. But let’s give it a shot.

      First, both the old and new testaments of the Bible have been heavily revised beyond hope of knowing the originals. As in modern literature, first century authors as well as more ancient ones, showed that they could develop a plot and resolve it as they pleased or as they expected would please or otherwise impact their readers. The idea of fulfilled prophecy would be compelling, if not for the substantial evidence that the gospel stories were derived from it premeditatively. The first narrative, attributed to Mark, was the first one written, and almost a generation after Jesus. Paul’s letters were written earlier than the Gospels. Matthew and Luke were rewrites of Mark that addressed the socio-politico-religious pressures current at their production. John’s gospel written much later, also adresses the current climate and does so in a highly Hellenized fashion. None of these original documents are available and it appears that even at the times they were fresh, there were numerous versions of each of them.
      It is important to know that historical fiction novellas were very popular at the time the gospels were written, and escapes from the dispairs of Roman subservience were in high demand. Moreover, the writers of the time were no strangers to the skillful use of metaphors, as were the writers which they considered ancient.

      The problem with passages from any book by multiple authors that testify to the veracity of the whole is probably obvious. Even if it’s one author it’s problematic. For instance, the uncritical reader of Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” will be swept away by that engaging “wind of doctrine”. The common assertion that multiple authors means multiple concurring witnesses would be compelling if the whole volume had not been so drastically and repeatedly altered as a whole over so long a time.
      The idea that much in the Bible was written by eyewitnesses is largely unsupportable. The “quotes” of Jesus are unsubstantiated.

      Do these considerations make the Bible useless or valueless to me. Not at all. I love it. Albeit, I no longer idolize it or attribute to it characteristics such as Catholics may often ascribe to Popes.

      Please note that I do not put the Bible on equal standing with the Koran or any other religious text. The scope and sequence included in the Bible outweighs all comers, I think. I’d have to be more familiar with the Upanishads and some other works before I could assert that with any certainty. Previously, I only said “I personally now see all such texts: The Bible, The Koran, The Bhagavad Gita, and so many others as snapshots of human consciousness with varying longitudinal reflection and widely varying historicity. I see all literature as being distinctly of human origin and reflecting a nearly full spectrum of the [recent]evolution of human consciousness, from the most base to the most sublime.” By this statement I do not mean that all scriptures are equally sublime, equally well written or translated, or equally valuable. I don’t equate them at all. Rather, I recognize the significance of what they can tell us about the evolution of human consciousness, and the rise and proliferation of memes, and how memes form vortices of shared world views that sometimes cannot share the same space and sometimes can. An example of the latter would be in Toledo, Spain in the 11th century, when Christians, Jews, and Muslims lived and worked together productively. They explored and synthesized their diverse views in an amazing way. It was too beautiful too soon, I suppose. The Great Inquisition broke up the party most horribly.

      It came as a surprise to me to learn about the diversity among the earliest followers of Jesus. Seemingly no one was thinking as Christians think today. There were views that would seem extremely strange to us today. Among the holders of various views there were some who fought for the supremacy of their view. Others would not fight, or could not fight as well. Victors in these meme battles gained power to discount opposing ideas. History was written by the winners. But such victories are never a validation of a view. A long-standing view that took hundreds of years and many, many lives to conquer, was that it was idolatrous to ascribe deity to Jesus. If I recall rightly, it wasn’t substantially quashed until the 5th century A.D.

      From my current perspective, this was a superior view conquered by a superior power so recently allied with the state through Constantine. So though I don’t know the intent of the Koranic passage you cited about God not having a son, there is a historical precedent of longstanding and perhaps noble origin.

      Do these considerations mean that there is no “good news” or “precious hope” in the world. Not at all. For me it means that the hope is far bigger and far more substantial than I had previously thought possible. But, I am persuaded that this hope should not be confused or diluted by reifying its varying cultural metaphors found around the globe. “Story” is so inescapably central to human life and culture, that failure to develop new globally shared metaphors may postpone a global transformation of human consciousness (spirit) that is vital to the continuance of our species.

      Steve, I realize this is not the bite-size segment that I think you were hoping for. It’s all very simple, but not so quick to relate. I believe that I addressed the points you raised. I’ve only hinted at my “big picture”. We’ll get there.

      I’ll give you preview…

      The earth rests upon the backs of 4 enormous elephants arrayed on the shell of a humongous tortoise…

      … just kidding.

  6. Steve

    Let’s work on the first point for a minute.

    When you say:

    “The idea of fulfilled prophecy would be compelling, if not for the substantial evidence that the gospel stories were derived from it premeditatively.”

    What exactly are you saying?

    My point about prophecy was the fulfillment of the OT prophecy by Jesus. There are very many, very many, and very complex prophecies. I know they were not written after the first century, but hundreds of years before Christ. Are you saying the apostles wrote the Gospels as a fiction to conform to the OT prophecy?

    • Yes, we’re on the same page.
      Think John Grisham and Michael Crichton and the depth of research that they have done for each of their novels. Also consider that “Matthew”, “Mark”, “Luke”, and “John” are the titles of the stories, not likely the authors. It would seem that ascribing their authorship to apostles requires believing certain lines from within the novellas as fact. So while I am asserting fictionalization over historicity, that doesn’t mean that the authors were in any way attempting to deceive anyone necessarily. This is simply the way that stories were promoted at the time. It was rampant. And it is the way that popular stories had huge effect on desperate people, and like they still do. Consider how practically every commercial advertisement in any media, every political candidate, and every new idea seeking an audience presents the same universal pitch either directly or indirectly: ‘Come to me, you heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’

      Imagine a 1st century TV show called “Judean Idol” where the best promoted, recently deceased (there were plenty) personage wins.

      It’s important, I think, to understand that fiction and mythology are not inherently ‘untrue’. That is to say, an improvised container (story) can transport vital truths into our minds. People don’t read fiction to learn falsehoods. We read it to help us learn things which elude our day-to-day notice and to quicken our sensitivity to the beauties and possibilities of the reality in which we are so often painfully enmeshed. So this perspective of the Gospels and other parts of the Bible does not denigrate the book, in fact, as I have shared earlier, it enriches it for me.

    • One other thing, dear Steve. I still feel apologetic about sharing these things in this order. You must in some ways feel like Wayne is trying to feed you the Blue Pill. I can only imagine the patience you are employing. I hope we get to the good part before we die of old age. 😉

      It took me years to research enough to accept what I’ve already told you. One little step at a time. Gently.
      I could not have received this 12 years ago, even from a gentle spirit as yourself.

  7. Steve

    Well, that’s ok, it brings me quite a bit of sadness to read what I’m reading here, but I guess it can’t be helped or restored in just a moment of time.

    I’m still on the first issue of the Hebrew prophets and their writings. There was something that I wanted to mention, and in this kind of forum it seems that simple points work best, but perhaps that’s because I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed. 🙂

    Are you familiar with the Great Isaiah Scroll? It was found in 1947(thereabouts) among the Dead Sea Scrolls and is a complete scroll of the entire book of Isaiah. It’s been dated to 125-150 BC which made it about 2125 years old when it came out of it’s desert time capsule. What is notable is that it’s almost identical with the Hebrew texts of Isaiah that we already have! There are some differences in tense and spelling but they are minor. When this manuscript is translated into English it reads almost exactly with the KJV in it’s message and meaning. Very close. There are some examples on the internet you can read, I’ll look up a link.

    The point I want to make with this is that it is now proven scientifically that a text can be copied over the span of 2125 years with great accuracy. (At least a scroll of a holy prophet, we don’t have any examples like this of secular texts.)

    I bet we can agree on that point, since it’s a matter of science.

    The second point is in the NT time frame. In the histories of Josephus he mentions Jesus Christ and his life in some detail including his death and resurrection. This is notable because Josephus is not a Christian writer and would have no reason to be biased or inventive. He’s putting down history in his Antiquities. I have the book here, the passage I site is in chapter 18 section 3. BTW, he also tells about the beheading of John the Baptist by Herod! That’s good corroboration for the accuracy of the history of the Gospels.

    Great Isaiah Scroll:
    http://www.allaboutarchaeology.org/dead-sea-scrolls-2.htm

    • I’m concerned about your your sadness, Steve. I’m feeling that it may be largely due to our process here, where we’re rather focused on what I don’t see rather than the sublime joy that I derive from what I do see. I sense the sadness as a concern for anomie. No one is defined by the details of what they do not, or do no longer believe. It may be inevitably and unnecessarily painful to pursue a line of discourse where one view is being initially defined by it’s divergence from another. It’s like outlining negative space in art: it evades depth perception.

      For a moment I considered pulling out my copy of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and The Nag Hammadi Library, and Josephus: The Complete Works. I’ve scanned them and read some parts and studied others, and read other books about them. But nothing that I value depends on them. I see them on the shelf, I respect them, and I’m no complete stranger to literary debate, but that’s not what we’re doing here. I hope. None of my faith, hope, or love was ever based on literature, and as these keep increasing this is even more so. I do, of course, find nourishment for these attributes in a wide variety of written sources, as well as art, music, and especially dialog. As large as my library has become, its purpose has mostly shifted to helping me develop language to facilitate just this special sort of discussion.

      Anyway, I should at least address your current statements and questions. It is really cool about the fidelity of the the Book of Isaiah over such a long time! That only leaves about 650 years from when he would have begun writing it just after 800 B.C. Hopefully there were few causes for any revisions during those centuries as there were for other books during other centuries. It certainly makes perfect sense to me that texts which people consider to be special would be better preserved and protected than those texts which they did not consider to be special. I expect there was a complete spectrum of specialness that maps generally to the current availability of ancient literature and art, even in the face of waves of book-burners.

      Regarding Josephus, I am under the impression that he was not an eyewitness of the events you mentioned but rather gleaned from the extant stories. This would be similar to his account of the heifer giving birth to a lamb in the temple in Wars 6.5.3. So we may indeed have corroboration. We may also have historicity in terms of his having accurately relayed the accounts available to him. But regarding the historicity of the events in the stories, we have only hearsay.

      (The electricity is flickering. I’d better save and send this now and continue later.) I’m quite determined to give you something positive to reflect on and dig into with me. I feel like my image of Jeremiah, tearing things down. I’m very eager to build back up. I’m concerned for your heart. I’ll get back to this in the morning probably.
      If anything should happen to me that prevents our continuation, please ask Joe, Sally, and Casey to help put a ribbon around this as best they can. We’ve had significant discussions.

  8. I thought I could get back to this today. But too much work overtook the time. Shortly!

    March 3rd: Argh! Everyone at home except me has a fever and I’m pulled away…. hold this bookmark! Sorry!

  9. Sorry for the delay. Let’s look into Wayne-think, if you dare.

    Wayne-think: Part One

    When we look out into the night sky, we are time traveling. The stars we see are no longer where we see them. We see them where they were, long ago. Some of them have not been where we now see them since before life began to evolve on Earth, others even since the Earth was formed. This long-view of time and development is very useful to me. Beyond the outermost galaxies, the backdrop of blackness represents the receding beginning of time for this expanding universe. The Doppler Red-Shift of speeding galaxies enable us to locate the area of universe from which the expansion began, generally referred to as the big-bang singularity estimated to have occurred ~15 billion years ago based on observable galactic velocities and accelerations. The CAUSE of that initial explosion is unknown. There are scientistic tales of strings and branes, maybe useful someday. There are “God-of-the-gaps” views where any cause which we don’t understand is attributed to God or some supernatural agent. This is like a wildcard played until we understand something. Then it is retracted, though sometimes slowly. But let’s return to time traveling.

    Corresponding to looking into the star-field is the effort to look backward through human history and prehistory. History or historical accounts require observers to have had language or some form of symbol record. Looking further and further back in time these artifacts grow scarcer until there is nothing to find. Then, rather than using a telescope, we use a microscope, and the tools of archeology to discover the modes of livelihood and society of prehistoric people. As we continue back in time these artifacts grow scarcer also. One reason they become somewhat abruptly scarce, is because we reach a time when humans did not bury their dead and therefore their remains are fewer and more difficult to find. We can safely conclude, I think, that something happened in the consciousness of humans at that period which led to their burying their dead and soon including artifacts in the graves along with the cadavers.

    I am not aware of any animals that bury their dead. They are abandoned and consumed by other life forms. I see the beginning of human burial as the advent of self-consciousness: the evolutionary milestone of reaching the capacity to hold an awareness of “I am”, a sense of personal identity and individuality. Having reached the pinnacle of animal consciousness, human development reached a critical mass and experienced a metamorphosis or rebirth. Given the way that morphic resonance works (see Rupert Sheldrake’s work), once the first human(s) experienced this transformation, others did so more readily. With the prior humans dying off, soon almost everyone was experiencing the new self-consciousness. But while there were some survival advantages, there were new problems that did not exist before. Along with “I” and “me” came “mine”, with far greater impact than simple animal greed. Some prior mammalian social instincts that served the group at the expense of the individual were now subject to a far greater sense of self preservation. Our capacity to choose our own way and sometimes choose poorly made this new consciousness look like more of a curse than evolutionary progress.

    We can put ourselves into these people’s minds… Last week a member of our group died. We gave him a time to respond to us, but then we left him and moved on. A couple days ago I experienced a radical change within me and now I am thinking “I” and “me”. The world looks different to me and although I was confused at first, I now feel powerful and somehow more present than the rest of my group. Before this I simply had my place and my role among my group, now I am also on the outside looking into my group and on the inside looking out of my body. Yesterday another member of the group died. I watched as her moving and her pain and her watching stopped. We left her behind. Did she see like me? Was she on the inside looking out of her body? When her body stopped, did the one looking out of it stop, too? Will I stop when my body stops? What if I do not stop?

    So in these last two paragraphs you can see the origin of a human capacity for selfishness beyond that of most animals and the origin of mythology and religion with burials and stories that address a continuance of consciousness as well as the attribution of consciousness to the world and the forces within it, and within us.

    Given our current limitations, our conceptions of universal origin meet with infinite regression at every approach vector. Given strings and branes, we must ask where they came from. Given an initiating God, we must ask where God came from. There is no satisfaction there yet, in those terms. However, there are clues, arguably, from quantum physics.

    Discoveries indicate that subatomic energies (quanta) are susceptible to consciousness. Moreover, research indicates the presence of a field that is the medium in which energy patterns flow that play a causal role in the forms of inanimate and animate entities. For instance, Sheldrake argues persuasively that genes alone do not determine biological formation, but that pre-material morphic fields play a greater role and that genes are merely (and wonderfully) the tool kit for fulfilling the patterns. Further, there are voluminous amounts of anecdotal evidence of connections between people and animals that are far apart, usually in space, but sometimes in time. Lyle Watson (“Supernature”, “Dreams of Dragons”, and “Lifetide”) covers some of these quite well, as do Dean Radin (“Entangled Minds”), Michael Talbott (“Holographic Universe”), Lynn Taggart (“The Field”), and many others. People have experienced and reported amazing things which even after weeding out potential fraud leave more than modern scientism can address. Scientists at or allied with the Institute of Noetic Science and other research groups are dedicated to this investigation.

    The arising and reasonable conclusion is that consciousness somehow gives rise to the material world and is continually active in it. (Amit Goswami – “The Self-Aware Universe”) This is not lost on all theologians as evidenced in the work of Paul Tillich. (multiple titles including “The Power to Be”). Tillich came to regard God no longer as a separate divine entity, but rather the very capacity to be.

    So far, we’re looking at things that are widely accepted or considered. Now let me share a personal perspective or synthesized story that I hold in my mind as an organizing structure and personal vista. A worthy world view should encompass our best science, our best knowledge of how the world is and how we are in it. It should have a discovery and update routine that allows for continuous or periodic revision in order to remain relevant. It should be clear enough to have a children’s version and robust enough to support a shared global vision for adults during difficult times. I’ve been fighting for such a perspective for 4 decades, as have many folks. I’ll begin here to take this into some hopefully useful metaphors.

    Try on this image. I can attribute all causation to consciousness, so prior to the universe I picture a sphere of spirit. Remember “spirit” = “consciousness”. This sphere is pure “I AM”. This living sphere of consciousness begins to exude intention, “Logos” (not to be confused with any human), and continuously exudes it – the ever-first born. This radiation of conscious intention precipitates spinning matter and rivers of manifestation with a specific ratio of expansion to attraction (think Phi in the golden spiral).

    Whorls of subatomic matter coagulate and form increasingly compact spheres that heat up until they light up as stars. In the stars matter is transformed into many different elements until the stars collapse and explode releasing far more sophisticated elements into the universe than it was originally made of. This happens repeatedly. Some smaller aggregations of star debris take up orbits around new stars. Planets are born. Floating stardust collects carbon and other materials that combine to form pre-organic molecules that land like seeds on planets and react with planetary conditions in ways that lead to replicating molecules in clay. These lead to the first primitive cells, and yada, yada, yada (explained elsewhere) leads to a vibrant living biosphere on this planet, and probably others. Right now, the apparent purpose of the initial Intent is to extend consciousness into the material universe. I see a pattern of evolving the hardware of biology so that it can support the software of consciousness. In this sense, consciousness is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end, the origin and the destiny, the impetus and the result.

    Now picture this still existing sphere of consciousness as a ball of light and think of it as being clothed with the material world. Now consider that animate life (which is also matter) is arising from matter generation after untold generations. Each creature is animated by that interior light and each generation finds the light rising within it increasingly as an enhanced capacity for consciousness. The consciousness arising in all creatures is always an extension of the one consciousness from which all things arise. There is only one consciousness, only one “I AM”.

    Relate this back to the pre-history mentioned earlier. When human first evolved the capacity for self-consciousness, the inner awareness of “I am” was a divisive and painful development because they had neither perception nor abstraction of there being only one “I AM”. Their automatic or instinctual connection with the group was severed into isolation and they had not yet evolved into a consciousness of unity in the one “I AM”. This is the evolutionary circumstance mythically construed by some religions as the Fall of Man and for story’s sake we can readily correlate the first self-conscious humans as Adam and Eve. The story of their family’s first encounters with “sin” can be easily mapped to the newly experienced conflicts arising from the advent of self-consciousness.

    The song-writer, Jesse Winchester, sings a song that contains the line,
    “Black dog don’t believe in sin.
    Think of where the black dog’s been
    Today.”

    The point in this line, for me, is that “sin” is a result of isolated self-consciousness. The relief we desire is en route, but from an evolutionary perspective it is unique. Prior to our self-consciousness, the evolution of our consciousness was only worked “upon us” or “within us” without our self-aware participation – kind of like having our diapers changed prior to potty training. But as our self-consciousness has developed over many millennia, we are increasingly able to engage in co-evolutionary practices that enhance our progress toward a new level of consciousness that will relieve our self-conscious angst. Such practices aimed at enhancing our consciousness make it easier for others around us and after us to reach higher levels more quickly. Another name for consciousness-enhancing practice is, of course, spiritual practice. Both of which are often associated with religion and mythology. These latter, however, now carry the greater liability of spiritual stagnation due to the reifying of aged metaphors into useless jargon. There is no need to put the new wine (revelation) into old wine skins (religious metaphors). Our story must be fresh and poignant.

    Next:
    Q&A, more on spiritual practice, God, human development, letting go, early releases (human precursors as avatars) of the next big shift ….

  10. Goodness, folks! For the concise, intuitive version, just stick with the poetry.
    Ah, the price we pay! Toward better bozos on better buses! 🙂

  11. Steve

    That’s an interesting read, I may not agree with it, but you are definitely not boring, old buddy. I’ll also factor in that we may be talking past one another to some extent.

    Just one quick comment so as not to interrupt you too much. I don’t see God as consciousness or some kind of self aware energy force. If man is made in God’s image and man has personhood, then God must at least be a person who can be creative and plan, then execute his plans.

    We can see his design in creation in many ways, and one thing we can observe is that there are many kinds of threes. Solid, liquid, gas. Animal, vegetable, mineral. Past, present, future. Primary colors of red, yellow, and blue. A seed is made up of three parts. When we look someone in the eye we see the whites, the iris, and the pupil. My brain(hopefully :-)) has three parts, the left, right, and stem. The development of a baby in the womb is divided into trimesters. Anyway, this list could go on forever, but the point I want to make relating to conscience is that man is created as a triune being. I’m sure you know this, but I just add it to the discussion. Man, created in God’s image,(and not the other way around), is spirit, soul, and body. Our soul is the seat of our self awareness but that is not the highest part of man because God is not a soul, he’s a spirit. The fall of man resulted in man being separated from God on the spiritual level. He actually died spiritually while the soul and body continued to function, that’s why the Bible says man is dead in trespasses and sin. Not just mistaken or evolving but dead in the ability to fellowship with God and know him on a spirit to spirit basis. That’s why Jesus had to come and die for our sins, our separation from God, and that’s the beauty of his resurrection, that those who receive him are raised spiritually from the dead by the power of God and brought into God’s spiritual family by the new birth. That’s the beginning point for a man or woman in this life because that spiritual birth should work outward to the renewing of the soul and the giving of life to the mortal body by the Spirit of God that dwells within. Everything that God does seems to be from the inside out instead of the outside in. The world effects us from the outside, but God from the inside. That makes the soul in-between in a way and also a kind of battleground in a war between the carnality(self-centeredness) of the flesh and the divine qualities(Christ-centeredness) of the spirit. I’ll stop there, but just to find a conclusion in this observation of the threes in creation; if man is triune and made in God’s image, God must be triune as well. That’s not Western Theology because God said let US make man in OUR image, and the book of Genesis predates WT by a great time span.

    🙂

    • Steve

      I like what you’ve said about looking back into the past when we look at the night sky. I’ve noticed the same thing myself. But I don’t see that as contradicting the Bible even though the time required for light to reach us is very great. Genesis does explain that, perhaps that topic is for a later time.

      • Yes. I know what you mean. It is certainly possible to talk past each other. With this kind of subject matter I think that would probably take the form of our using different metaphors for the same or similar aspects of reality.

        I would be interested to know how you would determine if an entity is a person. To me the determining characteristic is self-consciousness. Transpersonal consciousness in an individual seems to beg for a new term other than “person”. I don’t have a term to suggest. It just wants to be something less associated with isolated individuality. Just a thought.

        You mention wonderful patterns in nature, and since humans are part of nature, the same patterns are evident in us, inside and out. Some patterns are readily obvious, some can and do absorb lifetimes of research. I know that there are scientists who promote the idea of a purposeless cosmos, and intention-less evolution. I’ve given them a careful study over the last few years and I’ve learned to appreciate and sympathize with their arguments. But I don’t agree with their conclusions about this. While some scientists will readily admit “direction” in evolution, fewer take the risk of declaring for “intent”.

        As I described in my last post, I do declare for intent as I realize you do also.

        I think this might be a good time for me to describe another triad that I see, which I did not always see, and which has been difficult for many people throughout history. This is the triad of 3rd Person, 2nd Person, and 1st Person recognition and experience of “God”. 3rd Person, (he, she, it, and they) are the prevalent perspectives that people have regarding God, gods, or a supreme being by whatever name. There is minimal power for transformation with this relationship. 2nd Person, (you, singular or plural) describes a conversational relationship and the possibility for greater intimacy and transformation. 1st Person, (I, me) while far more rare and often subject to persecution, is an even more intimate relationship with “God”. Spiritual literature, including the Bible portrays all three of these levels, sometimes in rather confusing ways that don’t map a clear developmental path. I believe that it is characteristic of people in 3rd Person relationship with “God” to discount the experiences of those with 2nd Person experiences with “God”, ridiculing the person who leaks the fact that she talks with “God”. Likewise, both 3rd and 2nd person experiencers of “God” will tpically kill, shun, or occasionally deify anyone who shares about their 1st Person experience of “God” as “I AM”. The gospel writers in the Bible portray this dynamic in some of their accounts of people’s conflicts with Jesus. And their outcome follows suit. I read the Bible and other scriptures and books and listen to people talking and now I see a mind-blowing record of this ever-flowing dynamic among humans experiencing “God”.

        I should mention that the reason that I hesitate to write “God” at times and why I put quotes around it so much, is solely due to the 3rd and 2nd Person baggage that the term carries. I don’t want my views to be confused with them. I handle the term with care because I don’t want to give the impression that I am referring to anything remotely anthropomorphic. At the same time, I don’t want to make anyone think that any “person” perspective is “wrong”. That just isn’t true, if for no other reason than life is a river, not a glass of water. It’s a movie, not a snapshot. Just as Heraclitus who wrote about the Logos around 500 B.C. said that one cannot step into the same river twice, so also you can’t meet the same person twice. There’s nothing arrogant or elitist about stages of development. Arrogance and elitism are most often found in the presumptuous certitudes of religious institutions. As Gerald Massey wrote, “They must find it difficult … those who have taken authority as the truth rather than truth as the authority.” I would hope that any “God” Abraham could know, we can know better. Any “God” that Moses could know, we can know better. I hope that Jesus actually said we will do greater things than he did, because I believe it, including the 1st Person experience: I and my Father are one.

        Ever read the book, “Flatlander”? There’s a movie, too. I have in an AVI file of the movie if you (or anyone) would like to see it. Maybe I can get it into my Vodspot page. It’s a full length animation. Anyway, it describes a 2D world where 2D people live. A 3D person from a 3D world visits and cannot be discerned by the 2D people. I won’t say more that might spoil it, but the ensuing events are very relevant to this triad person perspective.

        It’s perfectly cool and wonderful that you cite pertinent biblical concepts relevant to the points I raise. It would be good if someone else perhaps would provide some input from another tradition. A problem arises when imagery and metaphor are mixed with more direct spiritual (consciousness) statements along with a dose of historical context. It begs for symbol primer, to decipher the core message. One way to approach the problem is to triangulate from another robust tradition. I’m reminded of a passage I love from William Blake,
        “Both read the Bible day and night,
        But you read black while I read white.”
        What an infinite “God” has to say will always outweigh scripture.

        I hope you understand that I’m not out to make some case to contradict the Bible or any other scripture, nor am I aimed at taking down any tradition. I’m seeing a view that turns the light on inside scripture and makes the dross to be no distraction and even appreciates where the dross came from and why. At the same time, however, this view is not dependant on any scripture. This is a view that reunites science and religion into a clarified and direct synthesis that supports a spiritual practice of conscious intent and mindful mutual care, understanding and addressing the real sources of suffering. And I’m not talking about anything I’ve heard of, like Scientology or Christian Science. I’m talking deep, satisfying synthesis.

  12. Steve

    Hi Wayne, I’m bringing your question/comment forward:

    “I would be interested to know how you would determine if an entity is a person. To me the determining characteristic is self-consciousness.”

    Well, if it’s put forth that an energy field or a subatomic energy field is a person because there is speculation or musings that this mass or field has consciousness, then I would question that idea or definition of personhood. But that really wasn’t my issue. I was talking about the difference between soul and spirit. The Bible makes a big deal out of the difference:

    For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
    (Heb 4:12)

    How is this applied to us? Well if the soul is the seat of the intellect, emotions and will then we can come up with many examples to illustrate the issue at hand. A person my be an intellectual giant, a creative genius, a great leader of men, such as Einstein, Mozart, or Alexander the Great. They can be all that and at the same time separated from the life of God in Jesus Christ….spiritually. A person’s status in the world as a giant among men is not an accurate measurement as to their status before God. Anyone who desires to enter the kingdom of God must do so as a little child. Men must repent and believe the Gospel, they must bow the knee before Jesus Christ and humbly accept his gift of salvation and eternal life that he has done so much and paid such a great price to make available to them. Everyone….rich, poor, educated, uneducated, male, female, young, or old must make their decision at the foot of the cross regardless of their place in this world or their development in the soul realm. That’s the decision that God has set before all mankind. To receive or reject his Son.

    • I’m sorry, I was not proposing anything quite so abstract regarding personhood. Rather than “energy fields” I had in mind the potential for “whale” persons, “dolphin” persons, and maybe eventual “canine” persons, etc. I was exploring how we determine the pre-requisites for personhood. We can extend the idea of personhood to an abstraction of pre-material consciousness, but I would predict that such consciousness is not limited to “mere” personhood. I really am persuaded that the human experience of “God” as a distinctly other supreme person began when humans evolved into the capacity for personhood (self-consciousness). I see our experience of “God” evolving as we progress through this level. And I see the forerunners into the next level are sharing a significantly different experience of “God”. Theirs is a distinctly new testimony, similar to words attributed to Jesus.

      I know that you know that I am thoroughly familiar with what you wrote in your last two paragraphs. I am presuming that you included it for the benefit, and perhaps salvation, of others reading this thread, and perhaps to influence, if not inform, me. Again, I think that’s perfectly fine. I know your honest heart. Please continue, but I do hope that you will find a way to engage the view that I am attempting to share with you. In this particular discussion I don’t want to belabor the extent to which I find the extant Christian tradition and Bible greatly wanting. But a discussion that strays too close to the event horizon of that memetic vortex is not likely to be mutually informing. If possible, I would like to know that I have described things well enough that you generally understand what I am saying, but I don’t demand or require agreement. I hope that you will ask questions about it, and I don’t expect you to refrain from framing some questions in Biblical terms. If possible, though, you may need to step “outside the camp” momentarily. But I won’t keep you. I just want to offer you a chance to see my vista. I already appreciate yours.

      Regarding the soul and the triadic composition of humans, I don’t have any problem with that. I think it is useful. I see the soul (mind, will, and emotions) as the interface between “I AM” and “I do” (spirit and matter). Often referred to as the “battleground”, I far prefer the image of the chaotic, creative, frontier of growth, exploration and evolution. I do see the triad differently, though. I see it mapped more like this:
      spirit ——– Primal Consciousness (Latent Pattern) (Father)
      soul ——— Intent (Logos) (Love)
      body ——– Matter (conduit) (receptive matrix) (Mother)
      This is not a private perspective.

  13. Steve

    Hi Wayne, I guess I’ll pick this up again by trying to address a third major position that you set out in the early going of this discussion. (The first two I think were met with the Great Isaiah Scroll which proved that the holy scripture could be exactly copied over thousands of years and that the prophecies of Christ contained in them are scientifically dated to hundreds of years before the first century.)

    With that coming to light the only real fall back for the skeptics is to cast doubt on the truthfulness of the writers of the Gospels as eyewitnesses of the things Jesus said and did as well as his resurrection. They would say that people came along centuries later and somehow, amazingly wove into the fabric of the scriptures their own ideas and beliefs. They would also say that the beliefs of first century Christians were significantly different from todays fundamental Christian beliefs, (like the divinity of Jesus as one example). I think you put both of those ideas out there in one of your first posts. One of your comments was, “history is written by the winners.”

    So let’s take that on. There are examples from secular history that document first century Christians, histories written by Romans who were public officials and not counted among the Christians that they were writing about. One of these is Tacitus, a Roman senator who lived in the first century and wrote, in his Annals a passage about the persecution of Christians by Nero and the charges brought by the state against them. Note also that there is historical evidence here that cooberates the life of Jesus in a few important details. It’s often said that the entire Gospel can be pieced together just from outside objective sources.

    He opens by talking about the way that Nero deflected public criticism from himself and placed it upon the Christians in a terrible way:

    Annals [15.44] ……… Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired. Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man’s cruelty, that they were being destroyed.

    This took place sometime between 60-68 AD. Notice the charge under which they were executed, “hatred against mankind.” They must have been preaching the Gospel because that is the same reaction that Christians get from the world today for telling people that they have to repent of their sin and receive Christ as the only way of salvation. Liberal, New Age Christianity doesn’t believe that or get that reaction from the world’s pop culture. They live under a universal belief that we are all evolving together and God could never send anyone to hell for rejecting his son.

    These first century Christians could have easily avoided execution by denying Christ, but they chose not to. Do you really think they believed that Jesus was just a man?

    • Hi, Steve.

      I think I’ll need your help to understand you better here.

      1. What do you regard as the 3 major positions that I took early on in our discussion? I’m not being obtuse, I’m just not sure what you mean.

      2. And which of those do you regard as having been met by the Isaiah scroll? If the scroll was dated to 125-150 BC, then that leaves up to 650 years of undetermined additions, deletions, and copy-errors from the original from 800+-BC or copies. Isaiah speaks directly to then current and immediate conditions of his time, therefore the most likely period for his book to have been revised by others would have been 800 to 600 BC. New testament writings are similar. They experienced tremendous revisions, subtractions, additions, exclusions, etc. within the first 2 centuries AD. Made relevant to the Isaiah scroll from 150 BC when they were then 600-650 years old, we could compare the differences between the content of the New Testament copies dated 650-700 AD to those versions available now. I expect the differences would be negligible simply because the period of rampant revisions which occurred for numerous reasons was already over by 650-700AD.

      3. “Skeptics” of what? Bible innerancy?

      I’m not sure exactly what issues are concerning you most. I haven’t suggested that there were no early Christians persecuted by Romans nor that Romans never wrote about them. Diverging from the longstanding religion of your family and community was regarded as an ultimate act of disrespect and subversion. The Roman persecutors were not fixated on theological details, they were attacking what they regarded as religious subversives, hence for the public good. Had it been Hinduism, it would predictably have been treated the same.
      Of course, at that time no religion that I am aware of, promoted a more “liberal” or “age to come” story or doctrine than Christianity did.

      We can’t know what what all those particular persecuted people believed. People have certainly died for beliefs in other people, holy or not. Sometimes those people were deified, like Pharoah and Ceasar.
      Studying this not long ago, however, it did come to my attention that the extant difficulties of living and the dissapointment of believers in hoping to experience personal transformational progress in their lives, led many to project all their hopes into the next world after death. This was a common thought among those who died for their “faith”. We don’t know the rate of denials. But the momentum of belief among the disenfranchised was such that even at that time when the perception of the deity of Jesus was mixed, it would not have mattered either way.

      Nero’s behavior is no surprise. Even people with no association with Christians did not find it “easy” to avoid execution.

      In your next to last paragraph, you said, “They must have been preaching the Gospel because that is the same reaction that Christians get from the world today for telling people that they have to repent of their sin and receive Christ as the only way of salvation. Liberal, New Age Christianity doesn’t believe that or get that reaction from the world’s pop culture. They live under a universal belief that we are all evolving together and God could never send anyone to hell for rejecting his son.” I regard this as problematic, Steve.

      Behind the superficial presumption of equivalent causes of rejection, your statement strongly asserts that a proposition is validated by the extent to which it is rejected. This certainly isn’t true. I really don’t think that you actually think this way. Do you? I also think it over-generalizes about the beliefs or “mind-set” of people who simply reject a certain combination mythological propositions.

      I think that we really need to bring the language and understand of the dynamics of human transformation forward from the bronze age and its cosmology. Not discarding olds ways, per se, but continually subsuming them into thoroughly accessable modern contexts and cosmology.

  14. Steve

    Wayne asks:

    “I think I’ll need your help to understand you better here.

    1. What do you regard as the 3 major positions that I took early on in our discussion? I’m not being obtuse, I’m just not sure what you mean. ”

    That holy scripture(the Bible) couldn’t be accurately copied over the centuries. (Thus the prophecies or fulfilled prophecies of Christ are meaningless.)

    That the Bible, the Koran, and the Bahgvad Gita all have equal standing.

    That the Gospels are fiction.

  15. Steve

    Wayne asks:

    “2. And which of those do you regard as having been met by the Isaiah scroll? If the scroll was dated to 125-150 BC, then that leaves up to 650 years of undetermined additions, deletions, and copy-errors from the original from 800+-BC or copies.”

    We now have a 2125 year old document that matches up with the Hebrew texts that were used to translate the book of Isaiah into English. That’s a proven span of accuracy of 2125 years. The ball is in your court now and your reply is that you think that it is now impossible for the text to be accurate in the 650 years going before, that date to Isaiah’s lifetime? If the Jews could copy near perfectly for thousands of years why can’t you give a little and even possibly believe that they could do it for 650 years?

    And it’s not like it’s due to their efforts or abilities because God is in the picture. You ought to know that those prophets and their writings were preserved among a people that killed them for the words that they spoke and wrote. In that case none of their words or prophecies should have survived. That is, if we just depend upon man’s wisdom and philosophy to guide us and discount the sovereignty of God and his purpose in giving the Holy Scripture the mankind.

    • I just saw your second post of today, Steve.

      I may not be writing clearly. I only suggested that, historically speaking, the most likely time-frame for Isaiah’s writings to have been revised by others would have been soon after they were written when folks with a different agenda would have had some interest or stake in altering the specific content. During the 2125 years that you site, there may likely have been little or no incentive to revise it and far more incentive to preserve it. I don’t know of anything we can do to establish that no revision took place over those first 650 years of that document. I never said that it was impossible for it to retain full fidelity. It’s simply not established to be so, and there are factors that should easily preclude assuming it to be so. It’s simply a point of knowledge to which we have no access. Anyone may choose to believe there were no revisions for 650 years, but that shouldn’t be construed as science or even probability. What would be the cause of such belief? What human need would it address to just go ahead and assume no revisions. I am persuaded that there are uncertainties that should simply be regarded as uncertainties.

      I believe “God” is in every picture. And I’m glad that the prophets had sufficient sympathizers to help protect their writings. I simply see the entire struggle as an evolutionary one with memes competing (and cooperating) for supremacy in an uphill march of consciousness. It happens with all writing and it’s clear to me that the Bible has been no exception. That said, I do hold that there is an underlying, or over-arching, or deeply embedded aspect of consciousness that serves as an attractor for both development and evolution. It ever provides the “upward call”, ever the “deep calling to deep”, and ever experienced by people differently as we mature both as individuals and as a species.

  16. Hi Steve.

    I’m sorry if I spoke unclearly about these things and misrepresented my own thinking. Wouldn’t be the first time.

    1. I don’t know to what extent any writing can possibly be accurately copied over any span of time. I only meant to note the signicant lack of consistency among the oldest source material for the new testament writings. I also mentioned that some old testament writings were significantly revised. I don’t think that I mentioned it before, but this took place primarily during and after the Babylonian captivity, as I recall reading.

    2. I never said that any sacred books have equal standing and I thought that I already corrected this notion. But maybe you are referring to some other aspect of “standing”. I may need your further help with this.

    3. Concerning the fictional aspects of the canonical gospels, yes, I do see a strong case for this. But as I said before, this does not make them inherently or entirely “untrue” as one would value a lie to be. It only changes their value and our perspective of them and hopefully busts up our (at least potentially) idolatrous posture toward words.

    I’m glad I asked about the points, Steve. Please bear with me. I’ve been more focused on the things I see, than on those I don’t see. To me these are now small tangential points I rarely revisit. But they weren’t always tangential to me, for sure! I’m sorry I rushed things. Please take your time.

    And please bear in mind that I never had a goal of unraveling my traditional beliefs. I never oogled the other side of the fence drooling for some imagined greener grass. I was experiencing the ground of it giving way beneath my feet and I was scrambling for higher ground where I could get a bigger picture. As I reluctantly turned from what had once been more central to me and attempted to be accountable along the way, I found very little interest among my friends when I tested those waters. It’s too scary for folks. So I found other friends and writers who had similar experiences and I confirmed and re-confirmed what I was discovering. This was a decade-long process and confidence came slowly. I applied numerous subjective personal tests along the way as well, such as ease and depth of love, my anxiety level, support for sustainable connectivity to all life, quality of compatible and supportive community, etc. It’s not easy. The comfort we derive from fellowship based on common language and beliefs is huge. Departing or appearing to depart can cost more than we want to pay, and can certainly prevent some from being true to what they see, or even looking beyond socially proscribed boundaries. I learned, too, that most groups are formed around shared fears. When one’s fears change or diminish the personal relevance of some groups change. It’s very dynamic and rich and useless to try and control or deny.

    Anyway, thanks for your continued patience. Please approach this in whatever way is most meaningful to you. Please don’t feel any pressure (at least not from me) to follow me into the “rabbit hole”. Cough up that blue pill and take it easy if you like. We should get together and play some music, too.

  17. Steve

    Well Wayne, in all my experience in getting together with other Christians to fellowship I have never known it to be motivated by fear. I can think of a number of motivations, all good, to describe why Christians meet, and really, what has actually been the shared history with you and Mark, Mike, and many others. If you are trying to put a fear label on that, then I would say you are creating your own revisionist history and reality.

    You mention accountability but I don’t remember you sharing this kind of thing with me in the months or years going before, perhaps you did with others, but I found out when I began to read our exchange here in this thread.

    When it comes to something like the “unraveling of your traditional beliefs,” I really don’t see how you could expect other Christians to follow you into new age philosophy or ideas that contradict and don’t square up with the Bible. It’s not that we don’t like ideas or interesting insights into physics or other scientific fields, rather it has more to do with the discerning of spirits. It’s not that new ideas are “too scary for folks,” no, it has more to do with staying within the spiritual boundaries that the Lord has given us for our good and protection.

    This is not something that is subjective! We have an objective standard(more than one, actually) given in the Bible to warn us if we are going astray.

    Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.
    (1Jn 4:1-3)

    The test is real simple. Does the spirit confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh? Now if you are listening to influences that are pointing you in a direction that denies that Jesus actually came into this world, came into history as a real man, then I would say objectively that it is a spirit that is not of God and a false prophet. I don’t know exactly where you are in the “unraveling of traditional beliefs,” but even if you are only part way to thinking that the Gospels are fiction then you should make an assessment of that and change those beliefs. I hope and believe for the best, there is just too much background with Christian brothers and sisters to toss out a faith simply because it is traditional or not on the cutting edge of new age thinking.

    God Bless,
    Steve

  18. Oh no, no! That’s not what I meant. I was addressing a prominent general cause for human groupings, not motivations for meetings. I certainly don’t think that all gatherings of all human groups simply meet to indulge in fear-mongering. Goodness no. I have already expressed my delight in fellowship, “The comfort we derive from fellowship based on common language and beliefs is huge.” and “Having … enjoyed such excellent fellowship…” and you know how much I love it. I would never put a “fear” label on any of that. But at the same time, the common fears are there.

    Regarding accountability, I began over a decade ago to try to stimulate dialog to explore together how we see reality and doctrine and life and scriptures, etc. It seemed to me that the reason it could not get off the ground was a general dis-interest or unwillingness (and even perhaps fear) of addressing differences. It was later that I “tested the waters” by sharing certain mildly challenging concepts, but even then I did not share but a small fraction of what I have shared here with you. It never got that far — as a group. But I have a few persons I can talk to, I have wonderful fellowship.

    You said, “I really don’t see how you could expect other Christians to follow you into new age philosophy or ideas that contradict and don’t square up with the Bible.” I have found every Christian, indeed every human, to be different. Even among Christians, there are many, many who do not regard the Bible as the radiant center of the known universe, yet they find value in it, as I do. I don’t presume or desire for anyone to follow me anywhere, but I am trying to call it like I see it, as responsibly as I can, in full compliance with the Golden Rule.

    I do assert that some new ideas are indeed too scary for folks. And I’m not out to scare anybody. I understand the reality of spiritual boundaries, especially the self-imposed ones, but also the memetic sanctions. I did mention that I equate spirit and consciousness. And I did offer early on that I regard all books as having purely human origins. But from my perspective this does not mean uninspired. Human writing ranges the whole spectrum of inspiration and it is a full color spectrum, not just black and white, and not just one color. It’s bigger and more wonderful than we can manage or control.

    It seems that you may be hearing things that I am not saying. I have described my perspective somewhat. Certainly not fully. But, I would not assert that Jesus never lived. I would not assert that he was not from God.
    Even if I believed such assertions what would be the point of asserting them? “God” means many things to many people, at least for the reasons I wrote about earlier. I thought you would find the “person” experience interesting and that it would lead to an interesting discussion.

    It seems like when I say that I don’t believe “A”, you may be assuming that I don’t believe “B”, “C”, or “D”. Better to ask me, I think. For instance, you said, “Now if you are listening to influences that are pointing you in a direction that denies that Jesus actually came into this world, came into history as a real man, then I would say objectively that it is a spirit that is not of God and a false prophet.” Well, I think there’s nothing remotely objective about that. It’s interpretive of hearsay. But, why not ask me, “Wayne, do you think Jesus actually lived?” I would have answered, “Yes, probably so.” Why offer such a statement rather than simply asking me.

    What shall I make of your statement, “I don’t know exactly where you are in the ‘unraveling of traditional beliefs,’ but even if you are only part way to thinking that the Gospels are fiction then you should make an assessment of that and change those beliefs.” First of all, I am available for you to discover the extent of the unraveling, and even better, I am available for you to discover the current state of the new fabric. That’s the point of this dialog. I am not engaged in any project to progressively fictionalize the gospels. I have not thrown the baby out with the bathwater. Second, I have tried to emphasize the intensity of my assessment and re-evaluation and research that has adjusted my perspective, and therefore it makes me feel like you don’t hear me or that perhaps you regard the fruit of my searching as flippant. At worst, your suggestion to “change those beliefs” characterizes them like something that happened to look tastey to me on the menu today. It sounds like that line, “Never let facts get in the way of the truth.”

    Steve, you also said, “I hope and believe for the best, there is just too much background with Christian brothers and sisters to toss out a faith simply because it is traditional or not on the cutting edge of new age thinking.” This is soooo far from my thinking that the light from it will not reach me in my lifetime or my children’s. It really seems that you are painting a flippant caracature of me for some reason. I won’t speculate again. You tell me why. Consider that I haven’t “tossed” out anything. The hard-earned perspectives I currently have were at no time sought or gained on the basis of “traditional” vs. “new age”. I regard these as foolish criteria.

    Yesterday, I was apologizing to you for my rushing the dialog. Today, I think I should suggest you not rush it either. Let me know if you find you are not willing to consider any structures that cannot be built with your blocks. Though we have more in common than we’ve gotten around to here, I can’t build my model for your inspection unless I am free to use my blocks, and not yours. At the same time, I understand if this dialogic project is either ill-timed, or involves perpectives too seemingly skew. But I would prefer to continue with the same respectfulness with which we started.

  19. Sorry to neglect this discussion. I’ve been swamped with work and music.
    If anyone else has input but is refraining due to the nature and content of the dialog, feel free to email me at thistles@issachar.com.

  20. Steve

    Hi Wayne, this is your thistle buddy! I haven’t e-mailed to your “thistles” address, so I don’t know what’s going on there. Have the sensibilities of your readers been upset?

    Reading from your last post you were saying that I was rushing the discussion. Hmm… I’m not sure about that. Maybe so, but in the early going, in my second post I outlined the Gospel with all the basics, that Jesus was the one sacrifice for sins and that he is the only way that God has chosen to reconcile man to himself. In the next post you responded by saying that is precisely how you once thought and that you do not currently think in such a way. So why am I rushing things if I am still responding to something that you came right out and said in the third post of this thread? Do you really mean what you write, or are you just spinning words together that you don’t really mean?

    • Hey, Buddy! Good to hear from you.

      thistles@issachar.com is an email address I’ve used for about 10 years and I use it for this blog and some other places.

      I don’t know of any readers being upset. I hope not. There have been no indications of it. In that last quick post I was acknowledging that some folks may read this thread and consider it to be a rather private dialog and discretely choose not to engage it. So I was providing an alternate route for anyone who feels like saying something to me but didn’t want to clutter the existing dialog.

      This brings up something about this format of discussion. As a dialog develops here it gets a little lanky or unweildy in a blog format. I have almost completed setting up a new forum for longer discussions like this that will help out a lot, I think. It’s at http://www.agrihack.com/Forum/ . Your ideas on that are very welcome. When it’s ready, probably this week, I’ll add a link to it from the sidebar here. I think it will be more useful. I hope so. I so enjoy a good dialog, I want it to be easy.

      Back to our topic…

      For me, the critical basis for our dialog here is what I stated on 2/27, “I promise to respect your views and listen and respond carefully. I will seek to emphasize what I see and why it works for me, and how I came to see it, rather than seeking to change your mind. Since I think you hold views which I once held and I may hold views which you may not have considered, I will willingly submit to questions you may pose in order to provide a balancing asymmetry. Please tap me if I falter in any of these regards. This is important to me – more important perhaps than my own perspectives.”

      I still sincerely mean this. I am not “just spinning words together”, Steve. I’m eager to share some things with you that are of tremendous value to me. That’s what friends do. And even though I don’t presume that it is entirely possible within any particular timeframe, I’m willing and desirous to make the investment of being available to you here to share what I see and to engage your questions.

      I apologized a few posts ago because I felt that I was going too fast and not leaving enough breathing room, so to speak, for you to explore at your convenience. And I’m still concerned about that. The reason that the concern arose is because your questions and comments had been predominately about what I think about what you believe, rather than directly exploring my views. At least that’s how it seemed to me.

      The only reason I thought that perhaps you might also be rushing things, in your own way, was that you seemed to me to be repeating with increasing fervor the tenets of what you believe though you know that I am already aware of them, while showing little interest in discovering what I see.

      Now it’s perfectly fine, of course, if you don’t want to find out what ol’ Wayne is thinking these days. But if you do, here I am. And I truly don’t mind tough questions. I believe that I can trust you to ask them well. I’ll respond as well as I can. Where I would prefer not to linger unless you really, really explicitly tell me you want me to linger, is on overly contrasting our views point-by-point prior to more fully exploring mine. The reason I want such an explicit statement from you is because it drastically expands the scope of this dialog. It also puts me in the unenviable position of facilitating your personal internal debate, for which you may not thank me quickly, and may not be fun for you, and which I regard as a whole other level of responsibility for which I only hold the credential of friendship. So caveat emptor. Also, I’m not at all interested in our dialog turning into a debate or contest between you and me. If you have a thoughtful interest in debate about some issues that are touched upon here, I recommend that we consider engaging those issues methodically elsewhere.

      Meanwhile, it remains perfectly valid for people to express their views to each other and answer questions about them to help clarify them. And this can be done without anyone else’s views being overtly dismantled, contrasted, or debated. That’s what this dialog was offered to be and remains: an open house for you to find out anything you want to know about my views, due to your understandable interest in my claim, which you quoted, that my views are now different than they had been.

      You also asked, “Do you really mean what you write?” I need your help to understand. What did I write that caused you to wonder if I meant it? Or did I write things that seemed contradictory to each other? I’d like the opportunity to correct or clarify my writing if you will point it out to me.

  21. Steve

    Hi Wayne, I think you wanted me to give an explicit statement for you to continue, so I say feel free. Wayne-think Pt2.

    I might post something on your forum, but I don’t know how to avoid debate. If you say that the forum is not for debate at the beginning in your guidelines then I guess I can’t post. Too restrictive for me. It puts a stigma on debate that I think is unwarranted.

    I suppose if I want to present some other points in this discussion/thread I could?

    Steve

    It puts me in an uncomfortable position because I don’t think I can go along with your new beliefs I have to be able to disagree and present evidence from logic and science to refute your doctrines.

  22. Both dialog and debate are perfectly valid, but accomplish different things and require different skill sets. Debate will stifle or shut down dialog, and dialog distracts from the stricter argumentation of debate.

    How about this… since we started our dialog here in this blog, we could continue the dialog here, and if there are specific points that you would like to propose that we invest in with debate we could move that to the forum. I don’t know, maybe that’s unweildy. Perhaps I can carefully move the body of this discussion to the forum for easy reference, and divide the Forum into Dialog and Debate sections.

    Done well, both dialog and debate each have their special rewards. I believe those rewards are diminished when they are mixed together. It’s like one is cool and the other is hot, but mixed they make a lukewarm swill that doesn’t satisfy. See what I mean?

    I really like the scripture that says to test all things and hold fast to what’s true. In dialog, the testing occurs primarily outside the conversation when we each go and do whatever we do to test a proposition: research, prayer, introspection, debate, etc. In debate, a specific proposition is tested and contested and is the purpose of such a conversation as a partial means of potential truth-testing. So, it seems, dialogs can produce propositions for which one may desire truth-testing. And some of that truth-testing may be addressable by debate.

    I suggest that perhaps you could make a list of points that have arisen or may yet arise that you would like to propose may be truth-tested by debate.

    Meanwhile, in this current dialog, it would help me to continue to share my view if I could get some feedback that helped me to know if you are understanding what I already said. I don’t mean agreeing with it, just understanding me generally. So far, I can’t tell, because your responses are primarily focused on what you believe and what I don’t believe.

    For instance, do you have any questions so far about my view of evolution and its broad application to all aspects of reality? See how it’s not a reductionist, materialist view of evolution? Did you get the point about the emergence of self-consciousness and how it relates to the origin of our concepts of sin and the fall of man? I like that you said I’m not boring. 🙂 But did you understand what I was saying about the dynamics of 3rd, 2nd, and 1st person experiencing of “God”? How about the origins of mythology and religion?
    How about there being only one “I am”?

    Gotta run! But I always look forward to hearing from you.

    • Steve

      Hi Wayne, I put your questions in quotes:

      “For instance, do you have any questions so far about my view of evolution and its broad application to all aspects of reality? ”

      Hmmm….no, I can’t think of any questions.

      “See how it’s not a reductionist, materialist view of evolution?”

      I suppose, if you mean something like, do people change, do they grow up and mature, then I would say yes.

      “Did you get the point about the emergence of self-consciousness and how it relates to the origin of our concepts of sin and the fall of man?”

      I think I did, but regardless of our concepts, sin is what it is. It’s not my definition of sin that matters, it’s God’s, and I would think that being on the same page with his thinking on that topic would be the way to go.

      ” I like that you said I’m not boring. 🙂 But did you understand what I was saying about the dynamics of 3rd, 2nd, and 1st person experiencing of “God”?”

      Don’t follow you there.

      ” How about the origins of mythology and religion?”

      I think I got you to reiterate on that topic a few times.(Basically because I was shocked at what I was reading) That’s basically where I’m still at in the discussion. 1) Jesus Christ and the Bible as myth. 2)Early Christians didn’t believe that Jesus was divine and the scripture was later changed to reflect that. That’s what I think of as the liberal Christian/New Age/Eastern Mystic view on the matter and one that I reject as untrue and dangerous with eternal consequences.

      “How about there being only one “I am”?”

      I think we went around for a few paragraphs on who or what God is. Again, I really didn’t follow you too well on that. It seemed you were blending in eastern mystical thought.

      Steve

      • Thanks, Steve. That’s helpful to me.

        I’ll see if I can clarify anything. Let’s start with the first 2 pairs…

        “For instance, do you have any questions so far about my view of evolution and its broad application to all aspects of reality? ”

        Hmmm….no, I can’t think of any questions.

        “See how it’s not a reductionist, materialist view of evolution?”

        I suppose, if you mean something like, do people change, do they grow up and mature, then I would say yes.

        Your response to the latter casts doubt that you understood what I meant by the former or the latter. So let me expand on both a little bit. As you know, most scientists have for many years held a view that matter is the ground or basis of reality. This view led predictably to investigations along those lines and the technologies that derive from relevant discoveries. We generally enjoy the fruits of these labors. On the other hand, it has also led to such broadly accepted materialist and physicalist hypotheses such as asserts that consciousness is only an epiphenomenon of the evolution of the brain, and that evolution is entirely purposeless and undirected and causeless. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teleology#Teleology_and_science . It discounts the reports of anomalous experiences of consciousness and has tended to regard as “real” only what can be controlled enough to repeat at will. Reducing the world and our accepted understanding of it to such interactions of matter is a form of reductionism,
        “an approach to studying complex systems or ideas by reducing them to a set of simpler components ” which works in some contexts but makes a mess in others. Also see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductionism . While enjoying the physical benefits of such science, the spiritual assertions are problematic. This is because it allows only one way of knowing or approaching reality. And if one only has a hammer, one treats everything like a nail. This doesn’t mean that the scientific method is limited. It only means that materialistic, physicalistic, reductionistic scientism presumes limitations or boundaries that it should not. It pushes past rationality into absurdity rather than into any more valuable way of knowing. See http://vodpod.com/watch/43676-ken-wilber-spirituality-and-the-3-strands-of-deep-science?pod=transdialectic .
        In a positive shift from this way of thinking, there are arising scientists who approach things differently and can therefor see things differently. They are promoting an integrated view of reality that I deeply appreciate and searched for with great effort. They don’t believe in an inherent dichotomy between science and spirituality as has been advanced in the long-running social cold war since Galileo and Des Cartes. For instance, while openly acknowledging the general tenets of the theory of evolution as no longer reasonably contestable, they don’t accept the scientistic premise of purposelessness, nor the magico-mythical causality of a bronze age sky-god. These honest “askers, seekers, and knockers” are the ones I applaud and the ones whose reports I engage avidly. I currently see spiritual evolution (the evolution of consciousness) as the very substance, cause, and purpose of all physical and biological evolution from the big bang all the way through our present time.

        I hope that helps to clear up those couple things. Feel free to ask anything.

        I’ll get to the next items shortly.

  23. I transfered this dialog to http://www.agrihack.com/Forum/read.php?3,5,5#msg-5
    and it can be continued there.